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Franks Love Rushlift!

Known throughout the North East for eye-catching ads and low prices, the name behind Frank’s The Flooring Store is a thriving business with a modern, fast-paced and seamless operating model.

Established in the mid-Nineties, the flooring business with its head office in Shildon has relied on Rushlift to provide materials handling support from the nearby Bishop Auckland depot. Over the last decade, attention to the total cost of ownership has increasingly influenced equipment procurement decisions.

“Cost-efficiency has proved very important,” says Rushlift business manager, Tony Forrester, “Over the years we’ve seen the range of floor coverings grow and the business get busier and busier. The emphasis has been on keeping up with the changes, whilst maintaining efficiency. It’s not all about numbers however, it’s about service, response times, account management, the complete package.”

Rushlift is a leading provider of innovative customer focussed solutions in materials handling equipment.

That focus allows the provision of impartial advice to enable customers to maximise the effectiveness of their industrial equipment fleets, through either long term hire contracts or servicing and repair arrangements; something that long-term customers have found incredibly important.

“We have worked with Rushlift for almost 20 years,” says David Stubbs, financial director and company secretary. “We operate long hours, so it is crucial that we have equipment which is fit for purpose. The quality must be right and we value having a contract that will sort out any issues promptly. We look for long term productive partnerships with everyone we deal with. We value them greatly. We want to be the best in the business and work with the best.”

The approach has led to David and the team changing the forklift fleet on long-term contract hire to match their long-term objectives, switching brands five years ago, and making use of the latest hybrid technology, following advice from Rushlift on fuel consumption and total cost of ownership.

Says Tony Forrester: “Having provided great service support over the years, and our engineers do a very good job on this site, we felt we could bring additional savings. These trucks, with specialist carpet boom attachments, may have a higher initial cost, but they are cheaper to run. It’s now been five years since the initial switch to this type of truck, we’ve proved they’re more cost-efficient. David trusts us to deliver the right product, and with this latest renewal of the fleet, there was no question of changing back.”

David concurs, “You have to have a trusting relationship,” he adds, “and we have got that.” The trust also extends to the management of the operation too.

CreateCity’s managing director, Jason Maguire, leaves much of the day-to-day issues to warehouse manager, Lee Jenkinson and Jo Lupton, by title the human resources manager, but in reality, an operations manager able to take a holistic view of the warehouse, retail and equipment systems.

“Because we have a highly successful retail operation, we can use special offers or pricing changes to predict the workflow or flatten peaks and troughs,” says Jo. “The aim is to keep the throughput constant and steady. It used to be that the biggest peak would occur towards the end of the year. Now, we see the mid-summer growing season where the spike is.” A puzzled look brings a two word explanation: “Artificial grass.”

“We use simple metrics to know how we are operating as a business,” says Jo. “We can compare performance this hour or week to the one before, this month to the rest of the year, this year to last.”

A large screen shows the productivity figures in terms of cuts, the number of times the cutting machines have been put to use to turn a large roll into a customer order.

With substantial cutting capacity, and with the trucks acting as couriers back and forth from rack to cutting machine, the ‘shopfloor’ is always busy but calm and controlled. In recent years, the role of the internet has also created an added dimension to the business, opening up the market beyond the traditional heartlands in the North East. “The internet has allowed us to refine and restructure the business,” says Jo. It’s also knocked down a number of geographical boundaries.

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Rushlift Delivers For WFS

Since the company’s founding in 1983, WFS has established itself as a leader throughout the aviation community, by providing a broad array of quality and reliable Ground Services. WFS has flourished in scope and presence and now services over 120 of the world’s major airports.

“We are used to the need to respond quickly, particularly where equipment is vital to the operation of our customers, but long lead times in specialist equipment is the norm, so this request certainly put our rapid response capabilities to the test.”

By winning the Manchester Airport ground support contract for airline,, the managers at Worldwide Flight Services (WFS) had created one of the most challenging opportunities for Rushlift’s Brian Grady.

Over £2.8m worth of equipment was needed in less than two months, and involved over 110 units of varied specialist ground support equipment that would typically take at least three times that long to source.

“Ground support means having the right equipment at the right location and to be able to respond to the demands of an industry that has severe penalties for delays,” says Brian.

“From our first conversation to the first delivery took just eight weeks. In that time we dealt with over a dozen different suppliers to get their best possible production times and ensure the equipment was delivered on time.”

WFS is a company that is already familiar with the Rushlift approach, having relied on the MHE side of the business to provide support at their Heathrow operation.

Unlike many MHE contracts, where Rushlift offers a high level of insight to reduce the costs, GSE requirements are usually driven by the amount of aircraft arriving at a particular airport at a specific time.

“You need two sets of steps – front and back – for passengers to embark or disembark. Four aircraft arriving at around the same time means eight sets of steps are needed – it’s that simple.”

Another part of the challenge was finding the right mix of new and used equipment to keep WFS within budget, and at the desired level of capability. Thanks to a great degree of hard work and the skilled personnel that know the GSE industry well, Rushlift was able to pull together exactly the right number of equipment for the Manchester installation.

Flying overseas to meet suppliers where necessary, the team pulled in favours and put in the extra hours to find the right items such as pushbacks, ground power units and belt loaders, with a host of baggage carts, towbars and steps also ordered for fast delivery.

“As a full service rental, maintenance and asset management business, we maintain and manage a wide variety of equipment, “ adds Executive Chairman, Peter Cosgrove.

“Our GSE operation follows similar business rhythms as our existing businesses, meaning we bring a wealth of experience and expertise to a sector that has yearned for modernisation. By responding quickly and professionally, we gave WFS the confidence they needed to move forward with their ambitious plans.”

The skills of Rushlift’s sister-company, Specialist Crane Hire, were also brought to bear with the delivery of a Trepel wide body pallet & container high loader.

The loader made the long journey from Wiesbaden, near Frankfurt, to Manchester where it was carefully off-loaded using the latest mobile crane equipment.

“The attraction of going with Rushlift GSE,” adds Gary Jenkins of WFS, “was their understanding of our business aims. From our perspective, we needed equipment fast, but we also needed it to be capable and reliable. Our experience with them to date had given us an insight into their business ethos and we were delighted with the way they rose to the challenge.”

Brian Grady - Lo resRushlft GSE meanwhile continues to invest in their Heathrow facility and infrastructure, as well as offering long-term, bespoke contracts, and industry-leading levels of account and information management. Using the latest technology, customers are managing their own fleets online, ensuring they are fully aware of their equipment status.

Says Brian: “We also hold your important maintenance documentation online to ensure complete traceability. Our technical expertise is unsurpassed and, combined with a substantial parts holding, we maintain an enviable uptime record.”

Providing excellent service means being there to make sure customer’s equipment is working well and fit for purpose.

By accurately recording up-to-date fleet and performance data Rushlift can help you attain the highest levels of equipment utilisation and maintenance planning.

Together with tailored KPIs, customers like WFS are able to predict usage trends and identify potential future issues.

With total visibility of equipment and performance, they have the materials needed to manage usage and ultimately, lower costs.

“Whatever the equipment, whatever the circumstances, our priorities remain the same,” concludes Brian, “a safe and timely aircraft departure.”

“With thousands of individual items, hundreds of equipment types and dozens of manufacturers in their product portfolio, chances are, if it’s meant to move,

Rushlift are already keeping it moving. We do not restrict our thinking when it comes to what is and isn’t considered GSE. We are driven by our customers’ needs and we will source any equipment necessary to get the job done.”

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A Decade of Service

Operating in more than 70 countries and employing more than 15,000 people, the Weir Group is one of the world’s leading engineering businesses.

Rushlift & Weir – In It Together

Over a decade ago, engineering giant Weir Minerals took delivery of equipment from Rushlift on a five year deal.

During those years the equipment served the company well, but as with many industries, the demands of customers, changes in technology and expansion into new markets meant the business had moved on.

Weir Minerals is a leading part of the Weir Group, specialising in centrifugal pumps, valves, screen machines and other items that are used globally, particularly in mining and mineral processing.

With a host of manufacturing processes, equipment, materials handling and fleet management needs at their impressive Todmorden site, they are a business ideally suited to Rushlift’s multi-facetted approach.

As a leading provider of innovative customer focussed solutions in materials handling equipment, mechanical services and fleet management, Rushlift is independent from any equipment manufacturer. It allows the provision of impartial advice to enable customers to maximise the effectiveness of their industrial equipment fleets, through either long term hire contracts or servicing and repair arrangements; something that Weir found incredibly important over the previous decade.

“We have worked with Rushlift for many years,” says lean & logistics director, Andrew Battersby. “During that time our core business has remained the same but we’ve seen a lot of change and had to remain flexible in both the products we provide and the provisions we have for handling raw materials and finished products.”

Five years on from that original deal, a mix of new and refurbished equipment was installed to replace the oldest machines on site, whilst new kit was recommended for those being used in the toughest applications.

“It’s not about the equipment for us,” says Rushlift’s Mark Bann. “What matters is the customer, and the way we support their business in a cost effective and productive manner – whatever the tool for the particular job is.”

Another five years on, and the concept of providing the most cost effective, optimal fleet remains. “As before, we’ve included refurbished machines, a wide range of equipment and effective project management,” says Mark. “There’s always been a programme in place for systematically refurbishing the older trucks and looking at whether they are still fit for purpose. Once again we have surveyed the site and the changing applications to come up with a fleet with the optimal blend of new and used equipment.”

The latest deal represents an investment of over £1million and covers a huge variety of equipment. As well as specialist VNA, access platforms, telescopic equipment, and pallet trucks, there are a host of forklifts – from small electric counterbalance trucks to 32 tonnes capacity diesels.

“We’ve replaced medium sized equipment with larger capacity machines to reflect the increases in the size of the bowl and volute products made here,” adds Mark. “A telescopic truck now also replaces the role which used to be handled by a skid steer loader, as issues like reach and product size began to impact on the capacity.”

Rushlift is different in a number of ways in how it works with customers. The team listens to customer needs and requirements and provides expert advice to ensure that they have what they need and that it works effectively.

Having renewed the fleet for a second time, Weir and Rushlift continue to review the landscape to ensure that, whatever the fleet make up, the equipment serves the business well.

If that means challenging one of their longest serving suppliers to deliver even better service, says Andrew, that’s exactly what they should do. “Value chain excellence, innovation, collaboration and capacity are very much part of our business. Through effective delivery of these pillars, we call it The Weir Way, we aim to grow our own business, whilst providing great value and outstanding service and support. It’s something our customers expect, so why should we settle for anything less?”

One of the key components in Rushlift’s makeup is information. Not just product information, but fleet performance, KPIs, fleet utilisation and the logging of servicing. The company was one of the first to initiate an online fleet management system (FMS).

Having been run and refined for a number of years, FMS has been expanded to allow service technicians to input the latest data via their handheld devices.

So it’s not only high quality machines with expert advice that Rushlift prides itself on, but also services that allow customers to become more efficient. The FMS provides the most accurate and up-to-date information which forms part of the discussions at the regular monthly meetings whilst also highlighting areas for the continuous improvement process in place.

There’s also crucial operator information available to Weir that not only restricts operator access and logs impact recognition, but employs tracking capability to give extra detail on the location of equipment used over a wide area. “There is equipment that works in the same area day in, day out,” explains Mark, “but much of the fleet can be used anywhere on site. The FMS gives Andrew and the team important information on where equipment may be being used and how we can bring down damage costs whilst increasing utilisation.”

Having worked with Weir for so many years, the team has developed significant experience and is able to provide daily reports to support the monthly meetings, ensuring all issues are dealt with quickly and accurately.

The benefit to having a long-term supplier relationship, concludes Andrew, is that the understanding of the role played by the equipment is second-to-none. It means production continues apace, whilst costs, damage and downtime are kept to a minimum.

Much of the credit for keeping the fleet in tip top condition goes to resident engineer, Steve Schofield, whose engineering expertise and approachability means there’s always someone available in a hurry, something which Andrew says is noticed on site.

“One of the things we have done well is develop a good relationship, and Steve does a great job for us,” says Andrew. “The management of the relationship between the two businesses has been a key factor for us.”

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Rushlift’s Magnetism

Recently visited a great bunch of lads at Magnet Kitchen owners, Nobia.

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Give us a lift…

When you’ve got some serious lifting to do, it helps to have a crane business as your sister-company! This amazing bit of air cargo kit is now was shipped from Germany to become part of the new Rushlift hire fleet.

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Pole Stars! Rushlift’s Innovative Solution for C&G

As the sole UK supplier of materials handling equipment to Saint-Gobain Building Distribution (SGBD), a global market leader in building and construction materials, Rushlift maintains and specifies a wide range of equipment for an extensive variety of businesses, amongst them, telegraph pole manufacturer Calders & Grandidge (C&G).

“It’s a fascinating, iconic business,” says Rushlift’s director, Dennis Shaw. “It is slightly unusual compared to the rest of the SGBD portfolio, particularly in terms of the loads and the corresponding materials handling issues.”

C&G have produced over a million poles, as well as sleepers, fences and other products, with the wood arriving via nearby Port of Boston, from Brazil, Scandinavia and Africa. Once on site, timber is moisture tested and laid in graded stacks for further seasoning. From then it takes six to twelve months, depending on the size of the individual pole, for the natural drying process to be completed. Dressing (peeling the outer layer) and fabrication then takes place, with a special exemption allowing the use of creosote impregnation to give the poles a service life of between 40 and 100 years.

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Rushlift Help Drive Calsonic Kansei Business Forward

Calsonic Kansei is the number one supplier of automotive parts to Nissan, and one of UK’s most successful manufacturers. Thanks to Rushlift, production remains firmly on the right road.

In the early 1990’s, Rushlift became the company’s material handling equipment supplier, and ever since has maintained this long standing partnership with the business.

Steve Ridley, logistics senior at the Calsonic Kansei Sunderland Ltd, explains: “We have worked with Rushlift for many years and have a strong relationship with them. We have gone through some changes over the years but Rushlift have always been our supplier for materials handling equipment and they have worked closely with us to offer excellent advice and service; we work well together”.

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Rushlift Generate Solution For PD Ports

Independent materials handling specialists, Rushlift, has provided a major new fleet of materials handling equipment to PD Ports, including a fleet of 45t counterbalance forklifts fitted with a new integrated generator powering magnetic plate attachments.

The new fleet for Teesport was developed in conjunction with a number of suppliers as part of Rushlift’s ‘applications engineering’ approach to problem solving which ensures customers receive not only the right equipment, but original solutions to their materials handling needs.

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Ready for take off…

Our friends at Rushlift GSE are set to make a splash at the GSE Buyers & Ramp-Op Conference in Dublin. We’ve been busy putting together a snazzy new ad, conference handout and display materials for them. The conference sees senior figures in the world of GSE manufacturing and procurement come together with ramp operators to learn, discuss and network over the course of this industry-leading meeting. It also covers the benefits of GSE leasing in relation to ownership and the value to a carrier of employing a specialised handler, which we think our guys will be very interested in! Have a great trip fellas…

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Men of Steel

Tata is rightly considered a giant of manufacturing. With links to the aerospace, automotive and construction industries, among others, its steel division is a leading supplier to customers across the globe.

In its former incarnation as Corus, the company already had a long-standing relationship with Rushlift, having supplied a variety of equipment to the strip mills in Brinsworth and high capacity forklifts on site in Scunthorpe.

The Tata Steel Speciality (TSS) division offers a wide variety of carbon, alloy and stainless steels designed to meet the needs of some of the worlds most demanding applications in markets ranging from aerospace to oil and gas, power generation to industrial bearings.

Engineering manager, Rob Mallin worked with Rushlift to take care of all the TSS materials handling needs. Says Rob: “We have a variety of forklift applications, some heavy, some less so, but we felt we were better able to provide value to the group and control the fleet by bringing the operation under one roof.

“Rushlift were clear in what they could offer us and have delivered every step of the way. We have forklifts, sideloaders, road sweepers and aerial access platforms provided by them. The benefits to having a single point of contact and, in a business like ours where safety is paramount, experienced and capable engineers, are incalculable.”

Bringing equipment into an environment like a steel mill brings with it its own special considerations. “The harsh environment can be tough on equipment,” says Rob. “We need our equipment to be durable and fit for purpose, but we also need excellent back up and high levels of service to keep the mills rolling.”

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Rushlift Lands Virgin Deal

Rushlift Ltd. and Virgin Atlantic Airways have announced the signing of a contract for Rushlift to supply and maintain ground support equipment to the famous airline.

The contract, worth up to £4M over 7 years involves Rushlift supplying Virgin with a new fleet of ground support equipment, used mainly in aircraft maintenance both in the hangar and on stand at Heathrow Airport. The agreement will be extended to cover Virgin operations at Gatwick airport.

Rushlift will provide full maintenance cover including an immediate response if equipment fails and prevents an aircraft from departing.

The winning of this contract complements Rushlift’s recent acquisition of the American Airlines maintenance facility at Heathrow, giving them the ability to respond to airside emergencies.

Speaking about the new contract, Peter Cosgrove, Chairman and co-founder of Rushlift said, “We are entering a new and exciting phase of our development. Ground support equipment is vital to the safe and efficient running of an airline. We are delighted that such a prestigious company as Virgin, renowned for its customer service, has put its faith in our service offering and we are looking forward to working closely with them.”

“We are investing over £2M to replace equipment and help Virgin meet its own targets on improving the sustainability of its business and significantly reducing carbon emissions. This involves replacing old diesel engined equipment with either low emission diesel equipment or electric vehicles.”

Andy Currey, Tooling and GSE Manager at Virgin Atlantic Airways commented on the tendering process for the contract,“Rushlift was the only company that really understood our needs and were able to fully comply with the tender requirements. We were impressed by their Fleet Management System which will give us real time information on the status of our fleet and helps us to use our equipment more effectively. They have been easy to deal with throughout the process, responsive to our requests and flexible in their approach.”

Virgin Atlantic operates a fleet of 41 aircraft on long haul flights and has recently inaugurated domestic services to Manchester, Edinburgh and Aberdeen. They fly to 35 destinations globally.

Rushlift is a national company operating 150 engineers from a network of six depots. It provides long and short term hire of mechanical equipment and maintenance services, with over 8,000 items of equipment in service, ranging from materials handling equipment, ground support equipment to lorry loader cranes.

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Rushlift’s New GSE Venture Takes Off

Rushlift Ltd., a national supplier of equipment leasing and maintenance services, has acquired the ground support equipment (GSE) maintenance facility at London Heathrow (LHR) from American Airlines (AA).

The deal secures several jobs at the facility and marks an acceleration of the company’s expansion in to the market, having already secured contracts to supply and maintain GSE equipment for two major airlines.

Rushlift GSE will operate out of the existing LHR base at Elmdon Road, close to British Airways’ Vanguard House, and will continue to support AA, as well as other key customers, for whom it currently maintains on ramp equipment.

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Rushlift Secures Europe’s Biggest MHE Deal


The exclusive ten-year deal will see Rushlift supply the group with a variety of materials handling equipment and covers the management and maintenance of over 2,000 forklifts across a variety of UK manufacturing, retail and merchant sites. These include the company’s Jewson, JP Corry and Gibbs and Dandy builders’ merchants chains.

The scale of the agreement, over two years in the making and worth around £100m over the next 10 years, has prompted Rushlift to recruit 30 additional engineering, account management and administrative personnel, with more appointments expected to follow.


Rushlift Builds With JP Corry

Rushlift has secured a national deal to supply JP Corry, Northern Ireland’s largest builders merchant, with specialist equipment from forklift manufacturers Doosan and Combilift.

A highly respected name in Ireland, with almost 200 years’ experience providing timber and building supplies from around the world, JP Corry has already received over 40 new Doosan and Combilift trucks across 17 branches.

The 10-year supply contract was developed by Rushlift national account manager Matt Turner who travelled to each site, assessing the branch’s individual requirements and recommending new methods of working. Due to his expertise and knowledge, Matt was able to identify a tailor made solution for JP Corry to improve productivity and reduce lifetime costs.